Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Aarey Is The Stage For Mumbai's Only Green Candidate

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Aarey Is The Stage For Mumbai's Only Green Candidate

Sarika Dabral, the candidate for the India Greens Party, was among the citizens who protested in 2019 against the destruction of trees to clear land for the depot.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 10:59 PM IST
article-image
Sarika Dabral, the candidate for the India Greens Party |

Mumbai: The Aarey forest in Goregaon, where a Metro railway depot has been built despite protests by citizens, has been the centre of the green movement in the city. So it is fitting that the city's only Lok Sabha candidate from a green political group is contesting from the Mumbai North West constituency which includes the Aarey.

Sarika Dabral, the candidate for the India Greens Party, was among the citizens who protested in 2019 against the destruction of trees to clear land for the depot. "We were shocked when the new government started work on the project within a few days after taking over. We realised that to effect real change, we needed to wield power from within the system," said Dabral, explaining the reasons why she decided to contest the elections.

Dabral said that her foremost agenda is to get a protected status for the Aarey forest, remove encroachments from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) that borders the constituency, and increase the city's tree cover. Protection of Adivasi settlements in SGNP, which predates the park, and focus on primary education for poor children are other points in her manifesto.

Dabral is the vice president of the party's Mumbai unit and co-convenor of the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation Women’s Network (APGFWN). The India Greens Party, which was founded by environment activist Suresh Nautiyal, is based out of Delhi and Uttarakhand, the home of the 1970s Chipko movement, a citizens' struggle against the destruction of forests in the ecologically fragile hills.

The movement's founder Sunderlal Bahuguna Is an inspiration for the party's members, said Dabral, a post-graduate in English and a social worker who has volunteered as a teacher in programmes to help children from socially deprived backgrounds.

Apart from Mumbai North West, the party also has fielded candidates in South Delhi and Sangrur in Punjab. The application of another candidate from Mumbai was rejected by the Election Commission. Nautiyal, whose application as a candidate in another Delhi seat was rejected on technical grounds, said that the party, which subscribes to values like social justice, gender equality, and democratic participation, apart from environmental activism, is a member of a worldwide federation of green parties.

However, unlike the green movement in Europe which now has a significant political influence there, environmentalism in India is at a nascent stage. "It will be a tough journey," Dabral said about her prospects in the election. "It is a small start. The green political movement has just started in India."

The party held its first national convention in November 2018 and was registered with the Election Commission of India the next year. Nautiyal said that in a country where political parties are largely formed on religious, caste, and linguistic lines, a group that has the environment and social justice as its core principles will have to wait to find its place in the Indian political arena.

However, with issues like climate change, water scarcity, and the destruction of natural areas, green parties will have a larger role to play in the future, said Nautiyal. "The India Greens Party is the party of the future. We are currently in a dark and gloomy corner, but the future is bright. We envisage our future beyond 15 years."

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai Weather Update: IMD Predicts Light Rains & Cloudy Skies Today; Mercury To Stabilise At An...

Mumbai Weather Update: IMD Predicts Light Rains & Cloudy Skies Today; Mercury To Stabilise At An...

Thane Accident: Labourer Killed, 2 Others Injured After Dumper Runs Over Them At Samruddhi...

Thane Accident: Labourer Killed, 2 Others Injured After Dumper Runs Over Them At Samruddhi...

Mumbai: 6 Injured After Fire Breaks Out In Dharavi; Rescue Ops Underway

Mumbai: 6 Injured After Fire Breaks Out In Dharavi; Rescue Ops Underway

Sion Hospital Hit And Run: Deliberately Ran Over By Doctor, Claims Deceased’s Son

Sion Hospital Hit And Run: Deliberately Ran Over By Doctor, Claims Deceased’s Son

Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: SIT Summons GRP ACP

Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: SIT Summons GRP ACP